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The book jacket photo

My sister in law is named Leah Guggenheimer. We’re very tight; have been from the time I started dating my wife.

Leah owns an excellent camera, and takes sharp photos. She also has a lot of pride, and wants them to be good. Of my first five books, Leah is responsible for the book jacket author photos on two of them. Two days ago, on Mother’s Day, she came over to take the third.

We spent about, oh, 40 minutes, walking around the house, trying a few different locations. I wore a beige suit for several shots, but I’m just not a suit kind of guy. I’m the writer who smells a shirt lying on the bedroom floor, just to figure out if it’s wearable. Wrinkles? Meh. Stain? Meh.

Hence, the above photo. I’m wearing an inside-out Spider-Man T-shirt that was purchased from Target for $10. It’s tattered and faded, and 100-percent me. I actually shaved that morning, so you can see some cut/blood marks on my neck (I shave like I dance). I think there’s a tiny hair dangling from my right ear. My hairline is clearly fading away.

It’s me.

But is it OK for a book?

Thoughts?

8 replies on “The book jacket photo”

I don’t care what an author looks like, I want to read the author’s writing!!! Great job at the Digital Summit today – you were quiet at first, then just hit it out of the park with your “I’m a whore” remark. The panel’s faces were priceless!! Also, Mr. Dessi was there later in the afternoon.

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It’s an appropriate shot, especially for a sports writer. A good chunk of the sports-book audience is going to relate easier to a guy in a casual tee than a guy photographed in a suit from his study.

Plus, it’s a way better shot than the winter one you used for earlier book jackets. Looks younger.

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Honestly, I would try again. The lighting is wrong. Your face is in too much shadow. I can’t see your eyes very well. One of the most important things a headshot can communicate through is the eyes of its subject. I’d want to see your’s better. They’re probably your best feature.

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I agree. You seem to be squinting. The red in the shirt brings out the red in your face. A navy shirt might be better.

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The eyes were the first thing I noticed. Too squinty.
I could care less what you are wearing.
I don’t see red (color blind) so if the blood on the neck stands out, remove it.

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The only question you have to ask is, can it get any better? I recently had to have my picture taken and I wasn’t happy with any of it until, finally, the photographer said, “I don’t know what you think it should look like because that’s what you look like to the rest of us.” Boom. That was it and we were done. That was my picture.

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